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Jan 11, 2013

Bastia punished for fans' behaviour

Bastia have been ordered to play three home games behind closed doors following further violent incidents involving the Corsican club's fans.

Already condemned to lock out supporters from their potentially lucrative December 12 meeting with Marseille following violence at the Corsican derby with Ajaccio earlier in the season, unsavoury incidents outside the stadium during the 2-1 defeat to OM led to Bastia having to play their pre-Christmas home game with fellow strugglers Nancy in Gueugnon, some 900 kilometres from their stadium.

They now face the prospect of meeting Rennes, Evian and Nice in an empty stadium following the sanctions handed down by the French Football League's Disciplinary Commission on Thursday. The next home game that they should be able to play in front of their own fans is the potentially explosive derby with Ajaccio on March 2.

Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi attended the hearing in Paris as his club were told to play two games behind closed doors, and warned two points will be deducted for any future indiscretions, after an assistant referee was struck by an object thrown from the crowd, as well as racially abused and threatened, during the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final with Lille on November 28. The incident led to the game being stopped for several minutes while the assistant referee received treatment and calm was restored.

A further one-game stadium ban was enforced for incidents before the OM match, which led to a match delegate suffering a burn to a leg after fireworks had been thrown by Bastia fans, and the crowd's menacing behaviour towards the visiting squad as they climbed back onto their team bus, whose departure was delayed due to police concerns over the OM delegation's safety.

Bastia were also fined €30,000 after an assistant referee was pelted with objects and spat at during their home game with Valenciennes on November 10. Bastia may appeal against the decisions.

The punishments come as a blow to the club, whose finances were only ratified by French football's financial watchdog, the DNCG, on Tuesday following the end of Geronimi's ban from exercising official functions, imposed initially for his behaviour towards the match officials for his team's game with Troyes in early October, and then subsequently extended into the new year.

After Bastia's stadium was closed prior to Christmas, Geronimi claimed there was an LFP-driven conspiracy to "simply destroy the club" and dismantle it "stone by stone".

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